Integrating Herstmonceux

Dean of Student Affairs, AMS president to make ‘personal visit’ on Feb. 10

Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker says the goal of his trip is to learn how to integrate first-year ISC students into the Queen’s community when they return to Canada.
Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker says the goal of his trip is to learn how to integrate first-year ISC students into the Queen’s community when they return to Canada.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
The International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in England hosts between 160 and 180 first-year students every year.
The International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in England hosts between 160 and 180 first-year students every year.
Credit: 
supplied photo by Heather Mosher

On Feb. 10, Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker and AMS President Talia Radcliffe will travel to Herstmonceux Castle in England to meet with students and staff at Queen’s International Study Centre.

The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs is financing the trip.

“Given budget concerns, we want to go as low key as possible,” Laker said.

Laker said this includes staying in dormitories at the castle and eating in the cafeteria. The airfare is costing $1,281 round-trip per person. The trip will last from Feb. 11 to Feb. 13. This will be Laker’s second trip to Herstmonceux.

Laker said he has planned formal meetings with the executive director, the head of student services and student council members of Herstmonceux.

“There is informal interaction opportunity time with students as well,” he said.

Laker said the goal of the business trip is to learn how first-year students at the castle can be better integrated into Queen’s upon their return.

“Obviously, [Herstmonceux] is a very amazing AMS resource that Queen’s has. [Students] get a very special academic program,” he said. “If people miss the first year [at Queen’s], it can be very difficult for them to get integrated. When they come back they often stay very close with each other.

“The purposes for this visit [are to] provide a fulsome orientation to the Queen’s students who are currently attending classes there—to provide an overview of the opportunities and support structures available to them at the Kingston campus in Student Services and the AMS,” Laker told the Journal via e-mail. “As well,to encourage them to get fully involved in a broad social and academic network when they come back—rather than co-mingling only with each other.”  Laker said enabling the integration of students returning from Herstmonceux has been difficult in years past.

“This has been historically difficult, and we hope a personal visit will demonstrate its importance and allow them to get all of their questions answered.”

The second goal of the trip is “to acquaint more fully the faculty and staff—especially the newer Student Services staff at the ISC with the programs and services offered on the Kingston campus, in order that this information can be utilized in advising students there,” he said. “Also to identify collaboration opportunities for maintaining communication and co-operation.”

Third, Laker wants “to facilitate the AMS’ knowledge about the ISC and its programs, so that planning for increased engagement can happen: for instance, teleconferencing, social networking and other inexpensive means of supporting and engaging students at the ISC with students here in Kingston.”

Laker said there are between 160 and 180 first-year students at Herstmonceux.

“How do we support the castle kids? It can be difficult to engage them when they’re overseas.”

Bringing Radcliffe to Herstmonceux was an easy decision, Laker said.

“AMS is critically important to undergraduate student life. Bringing the undergraduate student president was a practical decision.”

After returning to Queen’s, Laker said he and Radcliffe will discuss the trip to learn from their experience.

“It would be my expectation that we would talk and work through what we learned there.”

Radcliffe said she wants to talk to students at the castle about the AMS.

“I’m hoping to talk to students about what they’re anticipating for future years,” she said. “We’re going to bring promotional materials.

“I’m doing all of my own preliminary research next week by talking to people who have been to the Castle in the past few years, but most of what I’ll be doing is visiting those constituents that are often forgotten about, to gauge their needs and interests as distance students but also for re-integration into Queen’s life next year” she told the Journal via e-mail.

Radcliffe said these promotional materials will include brochures on volunteer opportunities and part-time jobs at Queen’s as well as the AMS opportunities guide.

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